Staying Alert

Mark 12:29-30

YOUR MIND IS A MUSCLE. It needs to be stretched to stay sharp. It needs to be prodded and pushed to perform. Let it get idle and lazy on you, and that muscle will become a pitiful mass of flab in a brief period of time.

How can you stretch your mind? What are some good mental exercises that will keep the cobwebs away? Here’s how Jesus said it:

The most important commandment is this: “Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

MARK 12:29–30

We quite naturally express our love for God through our emotions—easily offering praise with our words and with the affections of our hearts. But Jesus included the command to love Him with our minds, too. How? I offer three suggestions:

Read. You may not have the luxury to travel—but between the covers of a book are ideas and insights that await the joy of discovery.

The powers of your perception will be magnified through reading. Read wisely. Read widely. Read slowly. Scan. Read history as well as current events . . . read magazines and periodicals as well as classics and poetry . . . for sure, read biographies. Become a student of great people.

Talk. Conversation adds the oil needed to keep the gears of our mental machinery running smoothly. The give-and-take involved in rap sessions and the question-answer dialogue connected to discussion provide the grinding wheel needed to keep us keen.

Write. As Dawson Trotman said, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” How true! The old gray matter increases its creases when you put stuff down on paper. Start a journal. A journal isn’t a diary. It’s more. A journal doesn’t record what you do—it records what you think. It spells out your ideas, your feelings, your struggles, your discoveries, your dreams. In short, it helps you articulate who you are . . . and how deeply you love the Lord!

Read. Talk. Write. Got it? Good!

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.